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COVID-19 Updates for Families

The COVID-19 Updates for Families page includes important information including the most recent Messages from the Chair of the Board, Messages from the Director of Education, new information from agencies such as the Ministry of Education or our local public health units.

Messages from Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella

“Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.” ~ Pope John Paul II

September 8, 2021

Dear friends, 

As we begin the new school year together as a Catholic community, we are pleased to be able to welcome back students and staff and are grateful that, as parents, you continue to put your trust in us to help your children grow in knowledge and faith.

We understand the uncertainty and challenges connected to this pandemic and hope that a successful first day of school has offered a bit of familiarity and comfort to your family. It is our strength as a Catholic community, that helps us navigate these unique times.

We continue to appreciate the patience and support you have shown throughout the past eighteen months. We have worked diligently over the summer to add additional ventilation upgrades as well as the addition of classroom HEPA filters when required. We have also ensured that there are heightened cleaning and health and safety measures in place such as:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces, at minimum twice a day. High touch surfaces could include washrooms, eating areas, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, touch screens, push buttons, handrails, computers, photocopiers, and sports equipment.
  • The use of the highest-grade filters possible.
  • Undertaking frequent filter changes through the school year.
  • Operating ventilation systems two hours before and after school occupancy.
  • Calibrating HVAC systems for maximum air flow and increased fresh air intake.
  • Ensuring a standalone high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter unit in every occupied full-day kindergarten classroom.
  • When required, an air purge of the facility through the air system.

As you may be aware, decisions made by our Board throughout this pandemic have been done in close collaboration and under the direction of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, and our local Medical Officers of Health.

The safety of our students, staff, and community are paramount in every decision the Board makes. I would like to share that if directions or decisions change, it is due to the response to Provincial or local situations. Our Board and Administration meet frequently with our local public health partners, as developments occur, in order to modify procedures and plan the best way forward. If this should happen, the COVID-19 section of the Board website will be updated immediately. 

After consulting with Public Health, the decision has been made to continue cohorting students outside on the playground to reduce the number of primary contacts and therefore mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread. We understand that many children will miss these broader interactions with their friends, but our hope is that a cautious start to the year will allow us to move forward more quickly.

As a Board, we remain committed to communicating changes and new information with you, from the Ministry of Education and Public Health, understanding that some decisions don’t always happen as quickly as we would like. Having said that, in respect to sports, I am excited to share that our safety protocols for fall sports have been approved by Public Health, and over the next week these measures will be shared with administration and all our coaches will been trained. Once this has been completed, baring any changes in direction from Public Health, we will be able to begin practicing for the fall season. Please watch your email inbox for additional information from your school Principal. We know that many of our staff and students are excited and enthused about the prospect of a return to involvement in school athletics. We understand that there have been many questions pertaining to extra-curricular sports activities, but we encourage you to use the COVID-19 section of our Board website as a source of clarity and information throughout this pandemic.

In closing, we continue to let our hope and faith guide us to a return to normalcy and the resumption of other activities which are important to our staff, students, and community. The BHNCDSB is confident that by continuing to work together, and remaining committed to our health and safety guidelines, we can preserve the school year everyone has hoped for.

God Bless,
Rick Petrella, Chair of the Board

Messages from the Director of Education, Mike McDonald

August 30, 2021

Message to staff and families,

At the BHNCDSB, our top priority is the health and safety of our students, staff and community. This principle informed all the work and planning which has taken place in preparation for the reopening of schools and administrative buildings for the 2021-2022 school year.

During this school year, we continue the collaborative approach that helped inform our previous re-opening plan with improvements that addresses new health and safety directives. This website section encapsulated the significant details in many important areas, but we recognize that there is still direction and information forthcoming from the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education and the Medical Officer of Health. As we progress throughout the new school year, information will continue to be shared with students, staff, parents and the community.

We are confident that as we continue through our COVID-19 pandemic journey and through this re-opening process, that our faith and gospel values will continue to help guide our Catholic community through this uncertain time.

The COVID-19 section of the Board's website is the single source of current guidelines, recommendations, practices and information for staff and families. As new and updated information arrives from experts and organization including the Ministry of Education, Public Health Ontario, our local public health units, and the Board, pages accessed from this section will be updated. We hope that by having our re-opening details and the most up-to-date practices and information in a single place, that our families and staff will have a clear understanding of everything that we are doing to keep our schools and sites as safe as possible for everyone.

The COVID-19 section of the Board's website has a 'What’s New at a Glance' page that provides a list of the most recent updates.

We remind families to ensure that their email addresses on file at the school are up-to-date as email will be the main method of communication this year. Please provide updated contact information if necessary.

I'd like to also extend a special welcome to our new and returning families. We are excited to begin the 2021-22 school year together.

~ Director of Education, Mike McDonald

Provincial and Federal Information and Resources

COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario

Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

School Re-opening Plan from the Ministry of Education